Just before being arrested today, Greenpeace oil campaigner Ben Ayliffe radioed the nearby Greenpeace ship Esperanza from the oil rig he and 17 activists had boarded:
“We have met with the drill manager and requested a copy of the oil spill plan, which we assume he has on board, yet once again we have been refused even sight of it. What is Cairn Energy trying to hide? We have phoned, written, faxed, emailed and now even paid a visit to the rig to get a plan that should be in the public domain and should be subject to independent verification and public scrutiny."
It’s a reasonable request but one that Cairn clearly seems unwilling or unable to comply with. Perhaps that’s because their plan, if they have one, is insufficient.
The reality is that even if it does exist there is no way a BP-style deep sea blow out could be cleaned up in this remote and fragile environment. There is no way such a plan could provide assurances that the environment and Greenland’s fishing industry would not be decimated.
One of the last to be removed from the rig by police was Andreas Bergstrom. He and three others locked themselves in crane cabs to remain on the rig as long as possible.
Andreas is an Arctic guide who lives in Svalbard and for him the campaign to stop oil drilling in the Arctic is personal. He knows better than most what there is to lose in the event of an accident.
While locked into the crane he was also in radio contact with the Esperanza and had this to say:
“We scaled this rig to demand the oil spill response plan but they’ve refused to even tell us if they have one. Cairn Energy are simply unable to tell the world how they’d deal with a BP-style Arctic spill, so we’re going to stay here and stop them drilling for as long as we can. While I’m in this crane cabin this beautiful fragile environment is safe from this deep water oil rig. The only guarantee of safety is for the drills to be shut down permanently.”
Together the 18 activists stopped drilling for 8 hours today which, along with Luke and Hannah’s efforts earlier in the week, is a great effort - but drilling needs to stop altogether here in the Arctic. Our week of action has, as well as stopping the drilling for a time, brought the issue into stark focus on the international stage.
So back on the Esperanza and the Arctic Sunrise we are extremely proud of our friends and crewmates. They’ve risked their freedom to make a stand for the Arctic and that’s no small thing.
That’s the end for today - but it’s not over by a long shot.
This is too important for us to let the reckless greed of oil companies ride roughshod over common sense.
As the global temperature climbs and the ice melts, we should not be using that as an opportunity to press ever further towards the ends of the earth in search of every last drop of oil. Instead we should focus our efforts on developing clean renewable energy and fuel efficiency. We must ease our addiction to oil before it’s too late.
Cairn is now seeking an injunction against Greenpeace claiming that the pod protest hindered operations. Cairn argues that every day the rig is prevented from drilling costs the company up to US$4 million. If granted, the injunction would mean Greenpeace would have to pay 2 million Euros in fines for every subsequent breach and every day we stop the Leiv Eiriksson operating. The case will be heard in a Dutch court on Monday.
We’re signing off on the Esperanza for now – so over to you.